Fire demonstration reveals rain gutter fire danger

Fire demonstration reveals rain gutter fire danger

REDDING, Calif. - A little leaf on your rooftop or rain gutter may seem like a little thing.   But it can become a very big fire danger if a wildfire approaches your home.

CAL FIRE assumes most homeowners have already cut 100 feet of defensible space around their homes.  Firefighters suggest now is the time to focus on the little things, like clearing sticks and leaves in your rain gutters.

KRCR News Channel 7 conducted a fire demonstration to show how a small ember can grow into a large fire, fueled by dry leaves in your rain gutters.

With the help of Ray Byers Sr., owner of Byers Leafguard, we set up a fire demonstration using a small model of a home.

"When you show what can happen, and how easily it can happen, it sends a message visually, that is my house, that could be my house," Byers said.  "I don't want it to be your house."
Byers Leafguard is running a public service campaign, urging homeowners to take action and clear debris from rain gutters.  Byers said it's a vital step to making your home fire resistant, especially during this year's dry conditions.

"All that debris sits there and gets hot, dries out, and all it takes is an ember from a neighbor's fire at their home," Byers said.  "Keeping your roof and gutters clear and debris from around your home is really going to be important this year."

We simulated an ember landing in a leaf-filled rain gutter.  Just one little spark, and within 10 seconds the fire was snaking along the gutter, fueled by the dry leaves.  

"The good thing is we have a class A-rated roof on your roof.  Otherwise, it would be on fire now, right now.  This gives you a really good impression how something really bad can happen," Byers said.

If you would like more information about Byers Safe and Smart program to make your home fire safe, go to

A fire demonstration by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety showed how ember storms can ignite entire structures.  A few leaves were piled at the base of the foundation.  Flying embers ignited the leaves and then the entire house.

Ember attacks can happen when a wildfire is within a mile or so upwind of the property.  The embers can penetrate attic vents, soffits and other openings.

CAL FIRE said a small pile of leaves near a front porch, a broom leaning against the house and even dry leaves in living plants are the perfect storm for embers carried by the wind.

"We are not looking for 100 feet of bare dirt around a home," said CAL FIRE Fire prevention specialist, Chelsea Fox. "We like to see green landscaping, particularly plants that are fire resistant.  Our inspection program is about educating the homeowner.  But when it comes down to it, clearing defensible space is the homeowner's responsibility."

Taking little steps now can stomp out one more fire dangers to your home.

For more information about ember storms go to

Most Popular

Pictures In the News